A long-time top UK administrator will be the new project manager for the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District.
Frank Butler will lead the project into its second phase with the focus on a detailed design for the District, and how to pay for it.
Butler, formerly UK's executive vice president for finance and administration, will begin as project manager this month. UK will donate Butler's time and salary to the Rupp District effort through the end of 2012.
“Beginning with a foundation of support and cooperation among the state, the University and the city, we will seek creative approaches to financing for the Rupp plan to stand on its own,” Butler said. “This is a visionary plan with tremendous potential to attract investment in our community and our future.” Butler will report to Lexington Center Corp., which manages Rupp Arena, convention facilities and the Lexington Opera House.”
Developing the plan was the work of the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment Task Force; it is a 47-member committee including a broad cross-section of community and regional leaders. The plan recommends reinventing Rupp Arena, building a new convention center and constructing new commercial, residential and educational space downtown.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has included $1.25 million in his budget proposal, now under consideration by the Urban County Council. In addition the Convention and Visitors Bureau has approved $200,000 over two years and the Lexington Center Corp. has approved $250,000 over two years for the District.